What a dominant first half from the Oakland Raiders. After going up 26-0 because of a LaMarcus Joyner safety on Kyler Murray, the Raiders slowed down, but that doesn’t discount how good they looked in the early goings. They made the number one overall pick look completely pedestrian and held him to only 20 passing yards before he was taken out. There was a lot to take from this second preseason game 33-26 win against the Arizona Cardinals. Below we’re going to go through the biggest ones.
1. First Team Offense Looks Really Sharp Without Antonio Brown
Most of the first-team offense didn’t see any time against the Los Angeles Rams in the first preseason game, but a number of guys got a chance to see the field for the first time in 2019. Most notably starting quarterback Derek Carr. Carr only played in one drive but looked sharp. Josh Jacobs got his first chance to carry the rock and looked strong. He carried the ball four times and accumulated 21 yards. Not bad for his first action.
Tyrell Williams made an impressive catch that set up the eventual touchdown. He’s shown strong hands in training camp and that big catch reaffirmed that fact. Carr hit Ryan Grant for a 13-yard touchdown a couple of plays later. That was the last action most of the first-team offense saw, but it was a very promising showing. The Cardinals don’t exactly have a legendary defense. That being said, the Raiders didn’t have Antonio Brown and still scored easily.
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2. Pass Rush Looked Strong
Rookie Kyler Murray was running for his life early and often. The Raiders converted on two of their sacks while playing against Murray. One by new linebacker Brandon Marshall and the other by the previously mentioned safety LaMarcus Joyner. That’s not even talking about how much pressure the Raiders were generating. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Cardinals have two mobile quarterbacks, Oakland could’ve had a few more sacks. The defense slowed things in the second half, but the first unit guys looked strong. Ethan Westbrooks also joined the party with a fourth-quarter sack.
3. Backup Offense Dominates
Talk about a bounce-back for backup quarterback Mike Glennon. He threw two bad interceptions against the Rams but completely turned things around against the Cardinals. It didn’t start off great when he missed a wide-open Darren Waller for a touchdown, but he quickly redeemed himself with a long touchdown pass to Rico Gafford. His final stat line was 11 completions on 14 passes, 175 passing yards with two touchdowns.
Nathan Peterman looked like he may have had the edge after a strong performance against the Rams, but Glennon outperformed him against the Cardinals. Peterman wasn’t bad, he just didn’t have any notable plays. It’s not necessarily Peterman’s fault as the game was pretty much over by the end of the first half.
4. Kyler Murray Needs Work
The Cardinals took Murray out of the game in the second quarter after the safety and put in Brett Hundley. He finished the game completing 3 of 8 passes and only accumulated 12 passing yards. He led the offense to zero points. It’s going to be a learning process for the rookie, but he should develop in time. His performance doesn’t make for much excitement. The Raiders haven’t been known for their defense for quite some time and they completely shut Murray down.
Murray is in the right system for his skillset under Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury is also new to the NFL so the two will have to learn and work things out together. Rookie quarterbacks typically struggle, especially in the preseason. It’ll take time, but he’ll develop with time.
5. The Raiders Succeed on All Levels
The game looked like it was going to be an absolute steamrolling early on, but once the Raiders got a big enough lead, they definitely slowed things down, mainly on defense. They turned things around with a late touchdown and the defense got back in the swing things late. They did give up a long touchdown and short touchdown late, but it was an otherwise excellent showing from both the offense and defense.
Specials teams also played very well. Daniel Carlson made his only field goal attempt and A.J. Cole averaged 48.8 yards per punt. Plus, he pinned the Cardinals inside the 20-yard line twice. Not a bad showing for the guy that just beat out incumbent Johnny Townsend. Overall, this was a complete effort for the Raiders. Obviously, the preseason doesn’t mean much, but all signs are pointing to the Raiders being greatly improved in 2019.
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